Michigan Whiz Kid Gets More Press


Jacob Slomka, the 10-year old prodigy that famously asked Neil deGrasse Tyson about ways to deflect asteroids when he was here to speak late last year, continues to get attention. Now he’s featured in an article from Ellen DeGeneres’ website as one of their “good news” items.

Jacob is an elementary school student in the Detroit area, and says that while he may have looked confident, he was definitely tense.

“I was really nervous and my legs were shaking a lot,” Jacob tells the Good News Blog.

From metaphysical blankets to what Jacob deemed a “non-Newtonian solid,” the convo quickly became a spectacle.
“I learned a lot from Neil,” Jacob says. “Like, not all asteroids are just one big chunk of rock, some are made of millions of pebbles pulled together.”

Jacob’s passion for science mainly centers around rocks and outer space. He aims to be an astrogeologist when he’s older, though from the sound of things, it won’t be long before he’s an expert. His knowledge of space is as immense as the galaxy itself.

“If you think outer space is empty, that’s where you’re wrong,” he explains. “Honestly, there’s probably more life out there because there are millions and trillions of super-clusters, hundreds of galaxies in those, hundreds of solar systems in those and billions of planets in each galaxy. You think no planet has life besides Earth? Bacteria can live in outer space. If there’s life naturally grown on other planets… boom!”

Jake is a great kid and when you meet his parents, you know how he got that way. And he has a sister who is just as smart and precocious. And his dad Mike is into BBQ too. His mom suggested that he and I should start a competition BBQ team and called it Two Fat Atheists, complete with a logo featuring a baby roasting on a spit. I like that idea.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    Bacteria can live in outer space.

    Bacteria could live on other suitable planets, but in the spaces between, it would not do so well. Some bacterial spores would be able to survive in a dormant state for a while, until the radiation damage became too great.

  2. sinned34 says

    Need any craft ale for that BBQ team? A nice red Irish ale or dunkelweizen would pair well with BBQ baby.

  3. says

    Jacob’s passion for science mainly centers around rocks and outer space. He aims to be an astrogeologist when he’s older,

    [ puts on professional astronomer hat ]

    This is an interest to be encouraged.
    _
    Ed, if you know the family well enough, feel free to put them in touch with me (my work email is mbusch@ seti.org) if Mr. Slomka has any more questions about astronomy in general and near-Earth asteroids and the impact hazard in particular.

  4. magistramarla says

    Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke a lot about how Carl Sagan influenced him at the age of 17, seeing his potential. I think that he may have just found the perfect young person to mentor himself. I love seeing the love of science, or the love of any learning, passed on from one generation to the next.

  5. Crudely Wrott says

    To Jacob Slokma: You are hereby awarded one extraordinarily large Attaboy!

    On a personal level I offer a slightly awe struck, “Hey, kid – ;^)

  6. caseloweraz says

    And his dad Mike is into BBQ too. His mom suggested that he and I should start a competition BBQ team and called it Two Fat Atheists, complete with a logo featuring a baby roasting on a spit. I like that idea.

    Now that one should have been posted two days ago — or saved for 363 days.

  7. caseloweraz says

    From metaphysical blankets to what Jacob deemed a “non-Newtonian solid,” the convo quickly became a spectacle.
    “I learned a lot from Neil,” Jacob says. “Like, not all asteroids are just one big chunk of rock, some are made of millions of pebbles pulled together.”

    A big “Bravo!” to Jacob for having the courage to ask questions, and for knowing what questions to ask. A “Brava!” to his sister as well.

    Also (to go not only off-topic but off-blog) this, in a nutshell, shows why comments on PZ’s 25-year lag post about climate scientists flying to conferences are misguided: personal FTF contacts are too important.

Leave a Reply